On Preparing for the Worst

When Connor and I got married, we took our honeymoon to the Lake of the Ozarks, and on day two of being there, totaled our car. It wasn’t a huge accident, but the collision damaged the wheel, which was not a cheap or quick fix. We sold our adorable getaway car to the body shop, not able to afford fixing it, and came home in a rental. 

  • I mean, just look at how cute we are.

Once we got home, my car started acting up. A blown head gasket, which, I learned, was car-talk for bring it to the junk yard. That left us with no cars. My parents drove us to work for a couple days. My dad spent his spare time bringing Connor to trusted car lots and we found a reliable car within our budget relatively quickly. God provided. We had the cash to buy it outright. My dad helped Connor haggle the price down and graciously gave us a cash gift toward paying for it. 

For almost a year, we had one car. Connor drove me to work an hour and a half early so he could get to work on time. It made the most sense this way, but I remember a lot of early mornings napping in the break room before my shift started. He’d get off work in time to pick me up right at the end of my shift. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the extra time in the car with him. But it wasn’t the most convenient set-up. 

When I got pregnant it got a little more inconvenient with all the appointments I had. But we stuck it out. Our goal was to get a second car for me to have at the house once I had the baby. God provided again. About a month before baby Byron arrived, my aunt sold us her car for a generously low price, allowing us to keep most of our savings in tact while getting a car to serve our family. 

That car lasted a little less than a year before it started making a weird noise. Our mechanic looked at it and said we better start car shopping. I was devastated. This again? For months my sister graciously drove me to the grocery store each week. I had to bring Connor to work on the days I had appointments or was teaching voice lessons. Cars were expensive, and we didn’t have cash to buy a reliable car within our budget. One day I asked Connor to pray intentionally about this for our family. He did. The next day his mom suggested that he talk to a family friend. He had a hobby of fixing up old cars, and was really good. He gave us an incredible deal on a car that fit exactly in our budget. 

In all those situations, God provided. Yet I still wrestle with anxiety regarding our vehicles because I know how easily my comfortable routine could be thrown off if something happened to one of them. And when my car started making a loud noise on the way home from getting groceries last week, I began preparing for the worst. We’d made it through so many cars dying on us that I knew we’d be fine, though I couldn’t ignore the sense of dread completely. If we had to junk this car, I was resigned to use the bus or walk everywhere. Maybe ask my sister for the occasional ride to an appointment. I called my husband crying, he assured me everything would be ok and that he’d take care of it.

And guess what? He did. He swapped one part and the car was back to normal that night. I almost cried with relief. I didn’t realize how much of a gift it would be to have a small car problem for once. No major inconvenience, no thousand dollar loss. Just a simple fix and I could rest easy. After so many cars dying on us in such a short amount of time (we’re talking five cars in two years… I didn’t even mention the cars that died during our short engagement… LOL), the biggest win was that the most likely culprit turned out to be the actual culprit.

I prepared for the worst, but it turned out to be the best case scenario. While preparing for the worst, I trusted God to take care of us regardless of how bad the car was. I don’t think faith requires me to ignore the possibility of the worst-case scenario. Something I used to struggle with, especially in the earliest days of our marriage where things kept going wrong, was guilt over the fact that I didn’t feel optimistic enough. I didn’t feel hopeful enough. I thought too much about contingency plans and worst-case scenarios. I wanted to be prepared for the worst. For some reason, that made me feel ashamed. Like my faith was somehow weaker. But as I’ve learned more about myself through adversity, I’ve learned that my ability to see many different outcomes to a situation and plan for the most inconvenient one… is actually an asset. And it’s part of my personality. Preparing for the worst has been an helpful to my family quite a few times.

My faith isn’t weak just because I prepare for the worst. My faith is about trusting that God has given me what I need. My faith is about knowing that even if the worst thing happens, God is still good. And in a way, that means I can always really prepare for the best. 


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